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Re: Review of CeCILL-C? (This is not â?oplainâ?? CeCILL.)

"Cyril Brulebois" <cyril.brulebois@enst-bretagne.fr> wrote in message [🔎] 20080119174607.GB4403@evy.ikibiki.org">news:[🔎] 20080119174607.GB4403@evy.ikibiki.org...


it looks like one can't help writing new licenses, so in addition to
CeCILL, CeCILL-B[1] (said to be BSD-like) and CeCILL-C[2] (said to be
adapted to software components) have been published[3]. Note that French
versions are available as well (s/en/fr/ in URL), as well as text-only
versions (s/html/txt/ in URL).

1. http://cecill.info/licences/Licence_CeCILL-B_V1-en.html
2. http://cecill.info/licences/Licence_CeCILL-C_V1-en.html
3. http://cecill.info/licences.fr.html

I'd be glad if those licenses (in particular CeCILL-C) could be

Thanks in advance.


The following is a review of the CeCILL-C licence. Further, it is only an analysis of the English text.

Disclamers: IANAL, IANADD.

Article 3 makes it clear that the license is accepted by using the software.Further the licence explicitly covers use of the software. I rather prefer it when licenses do not do this, but this is not a freeness problem

Section 5.1 is basically an unlimited right of use. It expliclty allows the use for any purpose (DFSG #6), and also explicitly allows reverse engineering.

Section 5.2 allows modification of any type including the creation of a derivitive work. The only condition is such modification must included a notice indicating the author of the modification, and the date of said modification. The GPL has an equilvent term, so this is no problem.

Section 5.3.1 (distribution of unmodified copies) is contains terms less restrictive than the GPL v2, so that section is fine.

Section 5.3.2 (distribution of modified copies) is identical to the previous section, except that the source code must be the full sorce code for the modified version. This section is obviously fine.

Section 5.3.3 (distribution of derivitive software). This section is interesting. Let us look at the relevent definitions here.
Derivative Software: means any combination of the Software,
modified or not, and of a Related Module.
Related Module: means a set of sources files including their documentation that, without modification to the Source Code, enables supplementary functions or services
in addition to those offered by the Software.

An unusual defintion of derivitive software by my definition.
It is also not entirely clear what a related module actually is.
A plugin would certainly be a related module under this definition,
but exactly what else is covered is not entirely clear to me.

Anyway, this section allows derivitive works to be licensed under a different license, as long as section 6.4 holds. Further if said derivitive work required modification of the software, the modified version of the software must be licenced under the CeCILL-C license, the changes to the software must be clearly identified (the GPL has a similar requirement), and the same source code availability requirements as in the other two sections still hold.

This section seems to indicate GPL-incompatibility, as it shows a copyleft requirement that would prevent the GPL
from being allowed to cover the work as a whole.

Section 5.4 disables a single clause in section 6.4 if a contribution under the CeCILL license is integrated, or
is included as a Related Module in a Derivitive Software.

Section 6.4 is the next relevet section. The first two clauses are basically a notice preservation requirement. The requirement is a little stronger than most are, requiring exact preservation of the notices, modifications of any sort or not allowed. The third clause is the one that section 5.4 can disable.
The text is:
to ensure that use of the Software, its intellectual property notices
and the fact that it is governed by the Agreement is indicated in a
text that is easily accessible, specifically from the interface of any Derivative Software.
That clause is similar to one in the GPL v2, but is just slightly more obnoxious. I'm not sure it is a free-ness problem, but it might be. At the very least, it can be a pain.

Section 8 is quite unusual, as it explicitly mentions that the licensee may claim compensation from the licensor for direct damages should the licensor fail to meet its requirements. Of course, this would not apply in the event that the licnesor fails to meet its requirements because the licensee failed to meet its own requirements. Certainly not a freeness issue, but just a little odd
to see in a free software license.

Section 11 adds an exception to liability in the event that the failure to meet the terms of the agreement are directly atributable to major events outside the parties control including acts of god, telephone or communications network problems, network problems due to a virus, intervention by the government, strikes, etc.
The rest of section 11 is very standard.

Section 13 contains some possibly problematic terms:
It has a choice of law provision, specifically French Law. That is not a problem. However it has a choice of venue clause, indicating the Paris Courts with the proper jurisdiction. This is the same provision as in the original CeCILL license. This might be a freeness problem.

Section 6.4's third clause may be a freeness issue.
Section 13 may be a freeness issue.
The license does not seem to be GPL compatible, although it
is very clear that the GPL v2 was studied in the preperation of this licence.

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